Commission Approves €1.4 Billion State Aid for Hydrogen Value Chain Development.

The European Commission has sanctioned up to €1.4 billion in state aid from seven Member States to support the fourth Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) in the hydrogen value chain, named ‘IPCEI Hy2Move’.

This initiative aims to advance research, innovation, and the initial industrial deployment of hydrogen technologies, thereby contributing to the EU’s goal of a 90% reduction in emissions from the mobility and transport sectors by 2050. This project aligns with the objectives of the European Green Deal, the EU Hydrogen Strategy, and the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy.

Project Scope and Objectives

IPCEI Hy2Move, collaboratively prepared and notified by Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovakia, and Spain, aims to unlock €3.3 billion in private investments. The project involves 13 innovative projects undertaken by 11 companies, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups, which cover a broad spectrum of the hydrogen technology value chain. Key areas of focus include:

  1. Mobility and Transport Applications: Development of hydrogen technologies for road, maritime, and aviation transport, such as fuel cell vehicle platforms for buses and trucks.
  2. Fuel Cell Technologies: High-performance fuel cells that utilize hydrogen to generate sufficient electricity for ships and locomotives.
  3. On-board Hydrogen Storage Solutions: Next-generation storage solutions, including lightweight and robust hydrogen tanks for aircraft.
  4. Hydrogen Production Technologies: Technologies to produce 99.99% pure fuel-cell-grade hydrogen for on-site refuelling stations.

Complementary Nature of IPCEI Hy2Move

IPCEI Hy2Move complements three preceding IPCEIs in the hydrogen value chain:

  • IPCEI Hy2Tech (approved on 15 July 2022) focuses on hydrogen technologies for end users.
  • IPCEI Hy2Use (approved on 21 September 2022) emphasises hydrogen applications in the industrial sector.
  • IPCEI Hy2Infra (approved on 15 February 2024) pertains to infrastructure investments.

Hy2Move specifically addresses the challenges and objectives related to hydrogen technology in mobility and transport applications. The project completion is anticipated by 2031, with varying timelines based on individual projects and participating companies. The initiative is expected to create approximately 3,600 direct jobs and numerous indirect ones.

Commission Assessment

The Commission evaluated the project under EU State aid rules, particularly the 2021 Communication on Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI Communication). The assessment confirmed that IPCEI Hy2Move meets the necessary conditions, noting the following:

  • Common Objective: The project supports a strategic value chain vital for Europe’s future, aligning with the European Green Deal, EU Hydrogen Strategy, and Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy.
  • Ambitious Projects: The 13 projects aim to develop advanced technologies and processes that surpass current standards, significantly enhancing mobility and transport applications, fuel cells, on-board hydrogen storage, and hydrogen generation for transport use.
  • Technological and Financial Risks: Due to the substantial risks involved, public support is essential to incentivise company investments.
  • Aid Proportionality: Aid to individual companies is limited to necessary amounts, ensuring it does not unduly distort competition. A claw-back mechanism ensures companies return part of the aid if the projects generate extra net revenues.
  • Knowledge Sharing: The project results will be disseminated widely through the European scientific community and industry via conferences, publications, access to pilot and production facilities, or licensing of intellectual property rights, ensuring positive spill-over effects throughout Europe.

Conclusion

The Commission has concluded that IPCEI Hy2Move complies with EU State aid rules, affirming its potential to significantly advance hydrogen technology in mobility and transport applications while fostering extensive collaboration and knowledge-sharing across Europe.

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